The Sun Also Rises by Earnest Hemingway

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The Running of the Bulls, festival of San Fermín, is a week-long celebration. Earnest Hemingway's trip to the city of Pamplona, Navarre, Spain for this event in 1925 preceded and inspired his novel “The Sun Also Rises”. Of course, he spent time drinking in small cafes, learning about trout fishing for in the Pyrenees, and partying. 


Shortly after this trip Hemingway began writing his novel, basing the characters on real people in his life and the events of his trip. The characters reflected his views of the “Lost Generation”, considered to be the damaged veterans of World War l who were a decadent group, but also one that reflected and defined his concept of masculinity. 

Hemingway’s first draft presented a story that was more of a memoir than a novel, projecting his own self-image into the plot. His first draft was read by F. Scott Fitzgerald who criticized Hemingway for making the novel too much about himself. Hemingway’s big ego did not handle criticism well, and Fitzgerald did not mind providing just that for him, so Hemingway’s subsequent changes in his draft are a little surprising.

The story starts out in Paris where Jake Barnes, a World War l survivor, is working as a journalist. Robert Cohn, a rich Jewish writer, meets with Jake and wants him to go to South America with him. Later Jake meets Brett Ashley who he has known in the past and still loves. He shares with her that he has a war wound and that he is now impotent. That kills the part of the relationship that she wanted. Before long Cohn meets and decides he likes Brett and suggests they all go together to Spain since Jake is going there. 

Several of these folks leave for Spain to do some fishing, attend the fiesta at Pamplona, and to just have a good time. The story continues with party after party, bull fights, and fly fishing. Jake and a friend hike to a remote river where they catch what seems an endless amount of fish. (Trout of course) Their tales of fly fishing and trout, still today, are written up often in fly fisherman journals. 

They cool their wine in the cold river water, drink, talk of women and bullfighting and define the image of what masculinity is, for generations to come. 

In the end Brett and Jake finally talk to each other, sharing what seems to be real feelings. She tells Jake that he doesn’t have to get drunk and implies that she really does care for him. 

Ernest Hemingway is known for the memorable characters that he builds from real people and settings that come from real places and events. The Sun Also Rises is his first novel and often considered his best.

Quotes

“you can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.” 

“I can't stand it to think my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it.”

 “It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.” 

“Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”